[Wild] vS Data Reaper Report #5

A monthly Hearthstone Wild Meta Report based on data from over 60,000 games.


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Welcome back to the Wild vS Data Reaper Report! We’re the experts from r/WildHearthstone, and we have partnered with Vicious Syndicate to create the Wild Data Reaper Report. We will be contributing the write-ups and analysis for the report, backed up by the statistics for which Vicious Syndicate has become famous. The data presented in this article is based on 60,000 games.

The meta has stabilized after the nerfs hit, with the “deck to beat” shifting from Pirate Warrior to Priest. Priest is by far the most popular class, but it’s no longer the best performing, as the meta has shifted against the deck. We saw this during Pirate Warrior’s reign over the format as well, suggesting that that Wild has the tools to answer the best decks in the game. Dean Ayala says as much himself in a recent post on the official forum (https://us.battle.net/forums/en/hearthstone/topic/20759321821#post-12). He also quotes statistics that are around what we are seeing, which reassures us that our statistics provide a fairly accurate representation of the wild ladder.


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Class/Archetype Distribution


Priests are now our wild overlords, with a whopping 21.8% hold on the entire ladder and comprising just under 30% from rank 5 to Legend. Reno Priest is clearly the most played deck on ladder with ~20% play from Rank 5 to Legend, and 15% over all ranks. This is comparable to Pirate Warrior’s Wild play rate in its prime, and is the deck that the ladder will be teching against when playing their games. During Pirate Warrior’s ascendancy, there were no other Warrior decks in the meta. Today, Priest has three other recognizable archetypes. Big Priest leads these three in play rate, followed by Inner Fire Priest and Dragon Priest.

The other classes fall into three bands. Mage and Warlock are about 11.5% of the meta. Hunter, Druid, Shaman, and Paladin fall in around 9.5%. Rogue and Warrior fill out the meta, but they’re not so far below anything else as to be rare. Overall, with one big outlier, this is one of the most diverse metas we’ve ever seen in Wild. Statistically, for every ten games you play, you’ll play Priest twice, and every other class once.

From Rank 5 to Legend, it’s a little different. Mage and Druid trade places: Druid jumps to 11% of the meta while Mage drops to ~9.5%.The same is true for archetypes: Aggro-Token Druid usurps Jade Druid, Reno Mage dwarfs Tempo Mage. Exodia/Freeze Mage is fairly consistent in its play on ladder at ~2.7% played. Hunter and Warrior swap for the lowest play rate, but remain consistent in their archetype breakdowns.

Warlock has maintained its vibrancy on ladder, sticking at third most played class at all ranks. In general, Renolock is about 3:2 to Zoo, but they approach 1:1 from Rank 5 to Legend.

Paladin is the most diverse class, with 5 distinct archetypes recognized. Recruit Paladin doubles in its share of the class breakdown at high ranks, while the other four archetypes (Murloc, Control, Handbuff, and Secret) change very little.

Rogue is fairly consistent across all ranks. More than half of all Rogues are Tempo Rogues, followed by Miracle, Mill, and Jade Rogue. Shaman sees the second least play of any class. Interestingly, Murloc Shaman, which is fairly represented at lower ranks, all but disappears from Rank 5+.

 



Our power rankings have shifted slightly from last month’s report. Recruit Paladin has the top spot by a pretty large margin. It has no feared matchups, although Reno Warlock is slightly favored. For the rest of the meta, the deck is either even or favored. More importantly, the deck has a favorable matchup against Priest. The ability to exert consistent pressure, and refill the board with wave after wave of threats, exhausting the Priest’s board clears, really tilts the scale in favor of Recruit Paladin.

Pirate Warrior is near the top of our rankings with many good matchups as well as breaking even against Reno Priest. Reno Priest lists don’t exert very much board pressure, a trait Pirate Warrior capitalizes on.

All of the best performing archetypes, other than Reno Priest, are aggressive decks, as the meta has warped itself around trying to kill Reno Priests before they can assemble their hero power, which is what makes or breaks a deck in the current Wild meta.

Reno Priest is solidly in Tier 1, but not the top spot. It’s the most influential deck in the game, with the entire meta geared to push down its win rate. However, unlike its standard format counterpart, Razakus Priest, Reno Priest’s power level is significantly higher, which means its performance against the field remains elite, even with the entire meta turning against it.

Class Analysis & Decklists

Druid | Hunter | Mage | Paladin | Priest | Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior


Aggro-Token Druid has been dethroned as the number one deck to beat in Wild. A lot of this is due to anti-aggro tech choices in Recruit Paladin and Tempo Rogue. Aggressive decks such as Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman have also seen increased win rates. With so many decks in the meta playing Pirates, many Aggro-Token Druid’s have opted for two Golakka Crawlers over Haunted Creeper, Crazed Alchemist, or Crypt Lord. Overall, Aggro-Token Druid retains its Tier 1 status throughout the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion.

Jade Druid took a big hit after the Innervate and Spreading Plague nerfs last report, and it is not looking much better this time around. With the increased aggression on ladder, it is difficult to climb efficiently with the deck. It is much easier for aggro decks to just go face and ignore your entire board knowing that they have an extra turn to find lethal against poor Malfurion.

With a new expansion on the horizon, you may just want to have some fun and Ramp Druid may be your best option to do so. KimiHaSpider achieved legend early in the season with a very interesting Ramp Druid list using the Mill package. The deck runs the expected mill cards (Naturalize, Brann Bronzebeard, and Coldlight Oracle), along with Jade Idol, Jade Blossom, and Ultimate Infestation. Lastly, it takes a page from the Big Druid playbook with Primordial Drake, The Lich King, and the almighty Yogg-Saron. If you want to punish Reno decks with style, this is the list for you.

We also highlight a more traditional Ramp Druid, Jonahrah’s (who got his first top 10 Wild legend finish last month) Big Dragons list. The deck is by no means cheap, running eight legendaries including Malygos, Deathwing, and Deathwing, Dragonlord. Although the nerf to Innervate slows the deck down a bit, if you can aggressively ramp to 10 mana and draw as many cards as possible, you can slam a Dragonlord and retake the board in a truly epic fashion.

Midrange Hunter has continued to struggle in the Wild KFT meta. The biggest deterrent to Midrange Hunter is its struggles against other popular meta decks: Reno Priest, Aggro Druid, Pirate Warrior, and most of all Recruit Paladin. Hunter as a class lacks great AoE tools, so decks such as Aggro Druid and Recruit Paladin are consistently able to go wide without being punished. Pirate Warrior, with its fast minions and weapon synergy, is simply able to kill Hunter before it can stabilize, and Reno Priest has enough tools to stay alive until they draw their combo pieces. There is still potential for Midrange Hunter. Reno Jackson hit top 10 legend on NA with his secret N’Zoth variant. With a handful of early game minions and secrets, plenty of mid-game value cards, and N’Zoth to finish, the deck was able to do well in a grindy local meta.

Giants Hunter is one of Hunter’s best prospects in the current meta, due to its ability to combo off a flood of Giants on Turn 5 with Naga Sea Witch. The package itself has a core of about 20 cards including the key tutor cards and the Giants themselves. The remaining slots are usually composed of removal spells and other anti-aggro cards. The main experimentation with decklists has so far been the choice to use Secrets or not.

Giants Hunter is the gatekeeper between a Tier 1 deck and a Tier 2 deck. It’s held in check by all tier one decks (Reno Priest can remove the giants, and the aggressive decks can get in under the Hunter and push for lethal). On the other hand, it eviscerates value decks and other slow control lists. If a deck has no successful plan against Giants Hunter, it isn’t ‘broken’ enough to push its way into Tier 1. Its place in the meta is quite reminiscent of Quest Rogue due to the polarization of its match ups.

There has also been a recent resurgence in Face Hunter as an answer to Reno Priest. While we do not have enough data to rate the deck currently, we will keep an eye on this archetype as we get prepared for Kobolds and Catacombs.

Reno Mage has been seeing notable success on the legend ladder. A few players have used Reno Mage to target the aggressive meta while keeping a puncher’s chance against the legion of Reno Priests. Reno Mage can often survive the Reno Priest’s burst with Ice Block into Reno Jackson, and then grind out the Reno Priest’s resources. Players such as Daboss212 have also found success piloting slower builds with N’Zoth, Ragnaros, and Baron Geddon. Note that despite success in the legend ladder, it is found that Reno Mage is still slightly unfavored to Reno Priest overall. Because of the variance among its builds, the performance of Reno Mage in this matchup can fluctuate.

Exodia Mage is still one of the weaker options for Mage because of its weakness to aggressive decks. However, it is still fantastic at countering specific slow metas because you have plenty of time to find your combo pieces. As such, it should be avoided unless you are not running into aggressive decks. Meanwhile, more traditional Freeze Mage variants are showing promise in tournament settings such as Blizzcon’s Hearthstone Inn-vitational. The ability to target out specific decks while also not falling over to Exodia’s usual weaknesses, Freeze Mage was a tough contender in the tournament. It can potentially perform similarly on ladder, if the meta calls for it.

Tempo Mage is always a consistent threat against slower decks such as Jade Druid and Reno Warlock. Secret variants really tax the opponent’s interaction with your board, and can force suboptimal lines of play. Lists such as Ko10rino082’s Secret Tempo Mage use strong midrange minions in coalition with the secret package to secure wins against slower decks. Tempo Mage can still win against more aggressive decks with swing turns from Medivh’s Valet and Bonemares, though it’s a more difficult challenge.

It’s good to be the (Lich) King. Arthas, Uther, and Liadrin have reclaimed the top ranking in the meta with Recruit Paladin, and the other viable Paladin archetypes aren’t far behind.

Recruit Paladin has always been extremely powerful in Wild, and now it has returned to the top win rate spot with a vengeance. Grizzlybayer has found success with Justicar Trueheart to turn your hero power into a game-winning threat, while Bananaramic favors a Vinecleaver in the same slot. The deck is largely solved, and a great number of the cards are core, but some pilots use 1-2 flex spots for Haunted Creeper, Keeper of Uldaman, or Blessing of Kings, while others find room for a second Equality or Consecration.

The consensus is in: the nerf to Murloc Warleader combined with the meta shifts have tanked Murloc Paladin’s standing, and it’s sunk all the way to Tier 4 at higher ranks. The deck struggles against the aggressive decks at the top of the meta, and is nowhere near as resilient to Reno Priest as other Paladin lists. This month, we highlight GetMeowth’s version of the deck, which runs Ragnaros and Bonemares as additional top-end threats.

Secret Paladin continues to hold its niche as a Midrange Paladin variant with a positive win rate against Recruit Paladin, which it pays for with slightly less favorable (but still favorable) matchups against the decks Recruit Paladin does well against. As a game goes longer, Secret draws less consistently than Recruit, but it brings both the beef and a takeout container on turn 6. Underestimate Mysterious Challenger at your own peril.

Control Paladin is another underplayed Paladin archetype with lots of potential. With Dirty Rat as a strong disruption tool and strong late game cards such as Tirion, Uther, and Ragnaros Lightlord, the deck has the tools necessary in fast as well as slow matchups to be relevant.

Reno Priest continues to be a consistent and solid Tier 1 performing deck, sporting favored matchups against most of the decks in the meta. A few exceptions have begun to pop up, most notably Recruit Paladin. The archetype is incredibly flexible, and most players are finding that cycle heavy versions with a large weighting of low-cost spells to be the most successful, regardless of whether Spawn of Shadows, Prophet Velen, or a combination of the two are used. That being said, there are still a number of greedy lists running cards such as Medivh, N’Zoth and Elise the Trailblazer to generate extra value, which levels the playing field against would-be control counter decks such as Reno Mage. The featured lists were used by top legend players to reach high rank finishes in the past month.

Ask five Hearthstone players which deck they just can’t stand in Wild, and six will say Big Priest (the seventh will say Reno Priest.) The strategy of this deck is very simple: hard mulligan for key pieces, and then fit tab B into slot A. If you play Barnes on turn 4 (or turn 3 with The coin), you set up a cascade of value resurrections almost no deck is equipped to deal with. Shadow Essence comes online two turns later, but begins the same resurrect sequence. However, the 9- and 10-mana minions are often just too slow to stabilize the games if you don’t draw an enabler. Big Priest’s polarized ‘feast or famine’ matchups on Wild are frustrating to many opponents, who feel as though their gameplay decisions were rendered meaningless by the sheer power of the Big Priest’s cheating out mechanic. While the deck has an average win rate across ranks of just below 50%, when it’s firing on all cylinders, it has some of the most monstrously powerful turns available in the game. New face on the scene cndman streaked from Rank 5 to Legend with a staggering 80% win rate piloting his take on the archetype.

Inner Fire Priest has the chance to capitalize on an opponent’s mulligan against an expected control deck. Inner Fire Priest’s ability to generate a resilient early board – with a burst damage finish – can also make it difficult for Reno Priest to deal with. With Reno Priest’s inconsistent early game removal, early board such as Radiant Elemental and Deathlord can remain uncontested. While its play picked up significantly following the balance changes, it’s clear that the archetype’s win rate has not picked up substantially and has rather begun to be locked down by the rising popularity of its counter decks such as Recruit Paladin.

Inner Fire Priest’s disadvantage in the meta comes from how easily it can be stopped by health manipulating effects, polymorph effects, and silence effects. The deck curves out very aggressively, typically ending its curve with Lyra the Sunshard, but some builds have even decided to cut her and try to maximize the odds of an early combo.

Dragon Priest is an archetype that continues to see play at lower ranks, but quickly drops off in play rate as you move up the ranks. In anticipation for Kobolds and Catacombs, with the revealed cards suggesting the pushing of a return to a more midrange Dragon build, a few decks have begun to pop trying to realize its potential, using cards such as Shadow Ascendant, Cobalt Scalebane and Bonemare, to control the board though beefy stats in the early to mid-game. The archetype does not have a high win rate by any stretch of the imagination, but this is likely as stated previously, to be a result of its unexplored status particularly in the higher ranks, and its dependence on taking the board early due to an inherent lack of comeback mechanics.

Rogue has taken a big fall this report. Garrosh and Thrall are back with weapons in hand ready to bash poor Valeera in the face. With Rogue’s lack of taunts, healing, and board clears, we see Tempo Rogue fall from the top of Tier 1 to the bottom of Tier 2. Hazer reached #1 legend with his Keleseth Tempo Rogue List, which includes cards that can shut down Aggro-Token Druid, most notably Dark Iron Skulker. Meanwhile, Awedragon and Sipiwi94 have opted for the consistency offered by Ship’s Cannon to supplement their Tempo Rogue lists. In the face of the debate between Ship’s Cannon and Keleseth, Kohai chooses neither for the Oil variant.

While Tempo Rogue has established a spot in the KFT meta, Miracle Rogue, Mill Rogue, and Jade Rogue all find their way in Tier 4 of this report. These decks simply do not have the tools to deal with all of the aggression on ladder.

As we near the end of the Frozen Throne meta, Aggro Shaman is the only Shaman deck in the top 3 tiers of our Power Rankings. Aggro Shaman has been a Tier 1 deck since our first report, and it continues to be one of the premier aggressive decks in the Wild format.

Aggro Shaman is an extremely powerful choice when your meta consists of Giant Hunter, Exodia Mage, Big Priest, any sort of Rogue deck, Renolock, or Pirate Warrior. All of these decks have been returning to the meta, and so, like Yeats’ rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem, we have seen Aggro Shaman’s win rate surge to the third spot overall. Aggro Shaman also holds its own against Zoo Warlock, as well as Reno Mage and Priest.. If you are facing a meta heavy with Reno decks, you can switch to the more swingy windfury version (Powermace+Zap-o-matic) to kill them before they are able to draw Reno or their answers. These decks usually consist of many board clears and have largely cut weapon hate, so having a weapon burst finish invalidates many of their traditional answers. The Zoo Warlock matchup requires you to have a very strong board state after the first few turns so you can start directing the damage to the opponent’s face and then burst finish them before they can stabilize. SamAnthony’s Hammer of Twilight build of the deck is notable for the exclusion of Aya Blackpaw, instead opting to add faster cards in an attempt to finish the game before the opponent can play their Reno.

With most Aggro Shaman decks not running Devolve and usually carry only 1 Maelstrom Portal, Aggro-Token Druid and Recruit Paladins have become very difficult matchups to win. Both are able to go blow for blow in the early game with Aggro Shaman, and they prevent you from getting enough damage through minions to finish them off with burn or weapons. If you are seeing a local meta with many Paladins or Aggro Druids, two very powerful decks in the current metagame, we do not recommend playing Aggro Shaman.

The once mighty Midrange Shaman has now evolved (pun absolutely intended) into the

Evolve Token Shaman in the current meta. Token Shaman has found itself in the middle of Tier 4 as it has few favorable matchups in the current meta. It ends up getting outpaced by most aggressive decks and can’t put pressure on quickly enough to dodge the many board clears that all of the Reno decks have in their arsenal. While the deck is certainly fun, we do not recommend trying to seriously ladder with it.

Renolock continues to exhibit a mediocre performance in the latest data, only pulling a low Tier 3 position. The unfavourable matchup against Reno Priest, a deck that holds an astonishing level of presence in the meta, makes Renolock a poor choice for climbing the Ladder. The deck can steal wins against Reno Priest by running them out of AoE and making use of the Demon package to make an unclearable board of demons with Bloodreaver Gul’dan. Many lists also run the old Leeroy Jenkins, Power Overwhelming, and Faceless Manipulator combo in order to kill the Priests before they can assemble the scariest version of Voidform.

Renolock does have a positive winrate against Recruit Paladin, the current strongest deck in the meta, but the deck’s low popularity means that Renolock doesn’t greatly benefit from the matchup. This report features HurryUpIdiot’s Renolock list, which forgoes the Leeroy combo for additional removal and tempo tools.

Zoo Warlock saw the largest increase in play since our last meta report. Much like in Standard, most Zoo lists take advantage of Prince Keleseth. The 2-mana slot in Zoo is fairly weak, so adding Prince Keleseth provides little drawback, and a significant boost in power when you draw him. The true power of Zoo, however, is that it doesn’t need Prince in order to win. Wild Zoo lists are built to include Voidcaller, which is one of the strongest cards in the deck. The ability to pull a Doomguard or Mal’Ganis from its Deathrattle allows Zoo to exert constant pressure. In addition, Power Overwhelming, Soulfire, Bonemare, and Doomguard, enable huge burst potential to close out games. Both TitanX and Seviang hit high legend ranks running Zoo Warlock lists this month and their decks are featured below.

Now that the meta has settled down and adapted to Reno Priest’s dominance, the previous target of the meta, Pirate Warrior, has been rather successful, coming in second overall in our Power Rankings. While the deck’s power level is not as high as the pre-War Axe Nerf version, Ship’s Cannon continues to be one of the strongest cards in the format. As the Reno Priest archetype has developed, it has moved in the direction of heavy cycle, which gives Pirate Warrior more breathing room.

Keleseth has fallen out of most Pirate Warrior lists, along with lists that were running Cursed Blade. While you may still find some on ladder, the majority of players are now running versions that exclude both of these cards from the list. King’s Defender is obviously strictly better than Fiery War Axe after the balance changes.

The r/wildhearthstone experts who write this report also theorize that the increase in win rate of Pirate Warrior could also be influenced by Blizzard’s recent crackdown on bot accounts and botting software. As Pirate Warrior was the most obvious bot list to many, it’s possible that the data now more accurately represents real pilots of the deck.

Inversely, Control Warrior has retained its dubious honor as the lowest win rate deck in the Data Reaper. Control Warrior has never been great at countering a diverse metagame, and the current meta attacks it from many angles. Having to tech Control Warrior for multiple different matchups really hurts the deck’s consistency and overall win rate, and it’s an archetype that also heavily punishes inexperienced hands. Control Warrior has seen some success recently in the hands of more experienced pilots such as Scorpion and RenoJackson, both of whom used it to reach Wild Legend in Wild in October.


 

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Contributors

Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the [Wild] vS Data Reaper Report:

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